Giving Santa's Helpers Their Marching Orders

Bill Geist suits up as Santa
News item: "Retailers hope to pull demand forward by moving up the start of the Christmas shopping season even further this year and by extending it into the New Year."

Morning Briefing at Sani-Santas Inc., November 2010:

O.K. Santas, listen up!

The uniform of the day is the short-sleeved Santa coat, with matching plush pile Bermuda shorts, and open-toed black boots. We're in for a little warm Indian summer weather, but nothing like September, right?

Hats, wigs, and beards are mandatory… Hey, I don't appreciate the groaning out there. I know those beards are hot. Blame Al Gore, not me.

I know it's a long Christmas shopping season for you this year - Labor Day to Super Bowl Sunday - but in case you've been trapped in a coal mine or something: There's a recession on, people!

You've been out there for a couple of months and some of your "Ho-Ho-Ho"'s are starting to sound like bronchitis symptoms. Sound off like you've got a pair!

And too many breaks. We found 40% of our locations unmanned yesterday posted with those "Santa Is Feeding the Reindeer" signs.

Some of your Santa suits are looking shabby. May I remind you the name of this company is Sani-Santas? Show pride in the uniform! And if you have them dry cleaned, make certain the sponsors' patches, Hasbro and Mattel, don't fall off.

Some good news: We are expecting somewhat smaller crowds on the Friday after Thanksgiving, "Black Friday," because we're already had seven of them.

Given the protracted nationwide shopping season, Corporate has asked the White House to deploy National Guard troops to serve as Santas from midnight to 6 a.m. in stores open 24 hours during the holiday season. We hope to have some fully functional unmanned drone Santas available by Yuletide 2012.

Headquarters has issued a directive to downplay the narrow "Christmas Day" concept, emphasizing the broader "Yuletide Season" or "Holiday Season" (including Columbus Day, Yom Kippur, whatever) , encouraging manic gift-purchasing throughout.

Question in the back?

Yes. We are aware that the continual playing of the Chipmunks Christmas Song in stores for months at a time is a stress factor for you, and a potential violation of OSHA workplace guidelines. Our attorneys are negotiating to replace it with Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.

We're updating The Twelve Days of Christmas to The 156 Days of Christmas, featuring brand names: "… five Zale's golden rings . . . four Nerf Super Soakers . . . three Samsung 3-D TVs . . . two Barbie townhouses . . . and an I-Pad 64 GB."

I need to remind some of you that once kids have told you what they want, you're to warn them that supplies may not last, even for Santa, and that Santa can't match the "40% off plus an ADDITIONAL 20% off" sale prices currently offered. Close the deal with something like, "Wouldn't it be too bad if all your friends had the Xbox 360 WWE Smackdown and you didn't?"

We will begin a drawn-down of Santas on a date certain, December 26, continuing the reduction in Santa strength until the Super Bowl kick-off. Those of you remaining through January will be allowed conjugal visits - as will those asked to stay on to train as big Easter bunnies.

All right, go get 'em Santas! Stay hydrated. And no flip flops!